The Future of Meetings is Here

September 26, 2013

Future of Meetings
From Twin Bridges to today, meetings sure have changed
Have you ever overextended yourself and invited too many people to a party?  That’s what happened when we booked our first group meeting in the basement of the Twin Bridges Motor Lodge.  Using that space seemed like a great way to bring in more revenue until the room capacity of 200 people swelled to 300.  It was a disaster, and I thought the fire marshal was going to shut us down. 

Boy, were we green!  But we learned from it.  We learned that people like to meet, and we learned that we needed a better way to get a head count. 

From that basement to today’s grand ballrooms, one thing has remained a constant – meetings are important for business.  There’s nothing like a face-to-face to fire up the sales force or brainstorm the next big thing.  Meetings are one of Marriott Hotels’ core businesses, and we want to make them even more productive.  That’s why we’re focusing on the "Future of Meetings".  Peggy Roe heads up our team.  I'll let her explain it.  Click below.


Peggy tells me that the way people work is changing.  It's not just tables and chairs. Meetings are about people.  I’m not one to be chained to my desk and when I walk through the lobby I’ve noticed more people out of their rooms with mobile phones and tablets.  Technology is playing a big role in making it easier to meet, work and connect. 

Apps like Red Coat Direct let corporate event planners communicate and message instantly with our hotel event managers known as “red coats.”  Here's one example: if the room is too warm, the corporate event planner uses the Red Coat Direct app to send a message that goes directly to engineering and a temperature adjustment is made in seconds.  There’s no need to leave the meeting to hunt someone down.  It’s great new technology, and it’s helping our customers and our hotels run meetings smoothly.  You can see it in action by clicking below.


We’re also testing new designs for our meeting spaces.  WorkSpring at Marriott in Redmond, Washington, is designed specifically for small meetings where collaboration and productivity are important.  We partnered with STEELCASE to design an inspiring place where the technology is integrated, the food is prepared daily by the chef, and wifi is included.  


We’ve even thought of ways to help the millions of mobile workers looking for great spaces to work.  Workspace on Demand is an app that shows you the nearest Marriott hotel and lets you book a meeting space on the fly. Coffee shops are great, but conference calls work better without espresso machines hissing in the background.  See what the Gen Y & X folks think in the video below.


I’m excited about our “Future of Meetings.”  As one corporate meeting planner said, “This is a game changer!”  I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

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I am among those of the younger generation but also prefer taking my notes by hand.

Much easier to draw something quick, and write notes that relate vs trying to type on a tablet.

I'm really excited about all the new ideas around meetings - especially the Workspring @ Marriott; I truely believe that this is the way forward and have seen it in action at one of our largest customers' UK offices!

Hopefully the trial goes well and it is soon rolled out internationally.

Your reference to the Twin Bridges Marriott started me reminiscing about the early days of our business startup in the mid-late 60s. We originated and conducted job fairs; Career Weekends for junior officers separating from the military seeking employment. We would pay for the weekend room accommodations for 100s of these attendees. Our client companies attending the event would pay a fee to participate and there also would stay the weekend at the Marriott. We held numerous of these career weekend events at the Twin Bridges over those early years and over time held many an event in DC and other U.S. cities most often at our first choice in hotels, the Marriott. That was a lot of good weekend business for the Marriott and our growing business, Lendman Associates. In fact back in those early days we were told we were one of if not your biggest customer. Your staff at the Twin Bridges and all your properties treated us so very well. Even today when I travel Marriott remains my first choice.

I still prefer a legal pad and pen in my meetings, but I know that the nxt gen'ers want the technology. It looks like Marriott is all over it.